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Pacers' Robinson to make season debut vs. Hawks

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers chose not to make any moves before the NBA trade deadline, but they will be adding a key player.

After being sidelined all season following left ankle surgery, Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III is targeting a return against visiting Atlanta on Friday night. Robinson made two rehab starts with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants,

"I'm ready to go," Robinson told reporters repeatedly Wednesday.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan said he plans to play Robinson between five and 10 minutes Friday.

"Today when he walked out on the floor he looked like the old Glenn," McMillan said. "He looked like the Glenn who walked into training camp."

It's a nice boost for the Pacers (33-25), who won nine of 12 games heading into the All-Star break. Robinson said he has learned from his bench watching time and hours of video.

"Overall as a player, I'm two times a better player than last year," he said. "It's crazy, because I spent so much time away from the game, but I actually think that that helped me; helped me a lot. Everything happens for a reason."

Robinson started 27 games last season, averaged 6.1 points per game and was the NBA All-Star Dunk Champion.

"The No. 1 thing is defense," he told Pacers.com of his contributions. "I've talked to all the coaches about that. I think I can be another defender for this team, but on the offensive end I can space the floor and knock down shots. I think the biggest thing is my ability to run the floor and play off others."

Indiana has an offensive rating of 108.4 points per 100 possessions, which is sixth in the NBA.

Atlanta (18-41) is ranked 24th in the NBA defensively.

The Hawks transferred guard Josh Magette and forward Andrew White III from the Erie BayHawks, the team's G League affiliate, to Atlanta. Both players are on two-way contracts.

Magette has played in nine games with the Hawks, averaging 2.3 points and 2.0 assists in 7.7 minutes.

White III has appeared in one game with Atlanta. In his NBA debut on Feb. 14 at Detroit, he finished with a team-high 15 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 17 minutes (6-of-11 shooting, 3 of 7 3-pointers), becoming the first Hawk since Rumeal Robinson in 1990 to score 15 or more points in his NBA debut.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he will add a new wrinkle or a new play but doesn't plan to make any drastic changes to the team's direction. He doesn't plan to favor youth over experience the rest of the season.

"I think we've been a mix of young and veteran guys all year," he said. "I think the way we progressed through the season -- of course when you start the season you think it could be a little different -- (but) right now but I think the way we've played, and the way we continue to play, won't be that much different."

Updated February 22, 2018

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